Built environment experts and other stakeholders have canvassed best ways to overcome housing and mortgage challenges in order to enhance home ownership among Nigerians and promote economic growth.
Real estate developers, architects, builders, promoters of building materials, bankers, policymakers and mortgage providers among others, called on the government to look at funding issues among other impediments to affordable housing delivery.
The experts, who converged on Abuja for a weeklong housing show, listed inadequate finance, high cost of fund and building materials, poor land administration, lack of creativity in architectural design and difficulty in accessing land as knotty issues militating against affordable housing delivery.
Themed: “Driving Growth and Sustainability in Nigeria Housing and Mortgage Markets through Improving Structures and Policies for Impact,” the forum was organised by Festus Adebayo-led Fesadeb Communications Limited.
Speaking at the forum, President of Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria (REDAN), Chime Ugochukwu, a surveyor, identified poor land administration process as one of the knotty issues in the sector.
According to Chime, land has a lot of characters such as registration, titling, and restiveness in some communities, and in some places, housing developers cannot have access to the land due to these issues.
He tasked stakeholders to come up with recommendations that will enhance housing development in the country.
The REDAN boss also called for vibrant policy to accommodate interest of financiers and investors not contained in existing laws and policies in the country.
According to him, the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, Section 16, under the Fundamental Objectives of State Policy, compelled the country to provide suitable shelter for all citizens.
He urged the government to see housing provision as its primary responsibility by making policy framework and creating the enabling environment for real estate business to thrive.
President, Nigeria Institute of Building (NIOB), Mr. Kenneth Nduka, called for effective synergy between professionals in built environment to tackle challenges of housing.
Through the synergy, he said that professionals would ensure that only standard building materials were used in the provision of affordable houses.
Ghanaian Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, Mrs. Freda Prempeh, urged African countries to boost housing development by exploring local resources to achieve local content.
The deputy minister noted that despite the fact that the continent was endowed with natural resources such as timber, clay and granites among others, these have not been harnessed for housing development.
She called on African governments to ensure collaboration with private sectors to acquire landmark and provide infrastructure needed for effective housing development.
Executive Director, Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), Dr. Chi Akporji, noted that NMRC had evolved a technology platform, which allowed the stakeholders and key players in the industry to come together with the goal of reducing housing cost and increase housing efficiency.
She decried cases of unoccupied houses in Abuja and other places in the country, adding that studies had revealed that the houses were used by corrupt people to dumb stolen money.
Some indigenous construction companies called on the Federal Government to assist them with loans to boost their businesses.
Managing Director of Window Story, Mrs. Helen Uchechukwu, an architect, urged government to reach out to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) for financial support.
She said: “The Bank of Industry and Central Bank of Nigeria should try and identify and assist the SMEs through the show because most of the SMEs in the built environment are just trying to grow.”
According to her, some of the SMEs are looking for loans and incentives to boost their businesses but due to some bottlenecks, they cannot achieve it.
Assistant Manager, SOLIGNUM Nigeria, Mr. Gosife Etele, said that the company’s participation in the show had helped his organisation in boosting patronage through sensitisation and awareness being created during the show.
Other building material manufacturers also urged the government to assist local manufacturers for economic growth, noting that many companies are highly in need of steel to boost production.